New for the Sake of New
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I seem to post a lot of stuff complaining about unnecessary change. Part of that is the "get off my lawn" old man mentality of someone who's been doing this stuff for a long time, but part of it is that things really are changing too fast and with too little thought for consequences.
As a society we value "new" and we root for the underdog. We like to see the unknown guy come in with ideas that the status quo haven't thought of and shake things up. Unfortunately, we don't really know who or what the status quo is anymore -- things move so fast that the underdog becomes The Man before his ideas can shake things up.
My world is based in making technology decisions. This stuff is complicated -- businesses have a growing torrent of information and a lot of new ways to exchange that information. Where once a fax machine was a revolutionary and magical piece of technology, we have email, instant messaging, social media, mobile, web, Internet appliances, physical mail and the whole world of "traditional" media like TV and radio.
How it all fits together is complicated and it's getting more complicated. Companies wander out into the wilderness of Facebook applications while their basic web site is broken. They hire someone to build an iPhone app, but they don't have a customer database to let people know the thing exists, let alone to drive downloads, and even then, the app doesn't actually do anything that the basic website doesn't already do (poorly).
The reality is that every time you add another thing to your plate, it affects everything else on that plate. Think about a buffet -- if you don't have your mashed potatoes secured right, then when you pile on the gravy, you're going to make a mess. But if you're skilled, you can pile that plate high and wide and keep it all under control.
I love new things, otherwise I wouldn't be in the business that I'm in. But at the end of the day, if I don't have time to figure out how to use a new thing and then put it to use, then exploring these new things is just a waste of time.
And one old thing that hasn't changed is that time is money.
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Sam: Re: New for the Sake of New
This sentiment is not reserved for [old?] men. I've been taking my teenage daughters shopping this week for new mobile phones after 3 years. It's like going from the Stone Age to the Industrial Revolution, in 3 years time. They are overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time.
Best comment was, "I don't want to have my Facebook with me all the time, it would be annoying. I just want a phone to text with." No interest in iPhones. No interest in Android. They just want a phone. They've reached tech burnout by 15. What happens when they are running a business in 10 years?
More. Everywhere. Instantaneous. Everything. Without thought, perspective or tangible value.
When "new" is too fleeting to last, is it only good for momentary amusement, since there's no time to linger?
Be sure to see my blog over at Cloudenity. This week's topic:
Identity Isn't Just for Users Anymore